High-profile coach hires could improve SEC basketball depth

Author: Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Southeastern Conference schools want to make sure they have more than just a couple of men’s basketball programs capable of making long NCAA Tournament runs each season.

And they’re paying big money to try to do it.

Over the past month, Mississippi State and Tennessee both hired coaches with Final Four experience. The Bulldogs selected Ben Howland and the Volunteers landed Rick Barnes.

Alabama also made a run at a Final Four coach by pursuing Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall before hiring Avery Johnson, who lacks college experience but has coached in the NBA Finals.

All three are making at least $2 million per year, earning significantly more than their predecessors.

These high-profile hires represent the SEC’s latest attempt to better its men’s basketball depth.

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